Sunday, June 29, 2014
Today I had a random conversation with an anonymous stranger who said, "I left Facebook for 6 months and I felt so much freedom. It was like I got my life back." I didn't ask why she went back on, but considered a key remark, "I was so happy." We are in an age of self promotion, tweeting, texting, posting and to a lesser extent, even blogging all about the me, myself, and I...the importance of self and obsess over
what seems to be 'important'. Eleanor Roosevelt is often cited for this quote, "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." Lately, I have been wondering about our world getting so focused on the 'self'. This 'self-importance' that seems to be all about what we can get, what we can do and who we can have in our lives. So lately, I have just tuned out the drama of social media of all types and put my ear to the ground.
Sitting out on the street, drinking a libation or two and minding my own business, sort of, with intrusions of conversations that would wander past. Was Eleanor Roosevelt right or would I hear street philosophers cut through the white noise or garbled thought?
Uptown Minneapolis is a road show of avatars. You see the flash of fashion plates, the indie goth, the 1980 Yuppies, Sid and Nancy punkers, Illustrated men and women, your transitional people, trangenders, fettish people, bikers, desperate housewives, afraid of dying mid-life crisis guy with daughter/girlfriend, visiting UK tourists and then there's me. The native who returns home to see that Uptown Minneapolis is still the same, stuck in the 1980s and somehow is viewed as 'cutting edge'. This is why we are the inspiration for "Portlandia'.
Uptown is uptight when it comes to being Politically Correct and incredibly sensitive about offending anyone. You can find the uptight conservative Harley guy with leather and chains that hugs his M-16 at night sitting next to a guy named "Sue" who used to be a gal with black light tattoos and gages and piercings to ward off personal contact from anyone. The strange and bizarre is glorified with a latte and a vegan lettuce wrap from a sustainable farm to table food truck that is powered by solar energy.
Politics are discussed in hush tones, though it's really no secret that the city is Democratic and the state is Republican. It's kind of dysfunctional, because there is a kind of 'us vs. them' mentality though no one really knows who is 'us' and who is 'them'. Like I said, I am invisible here. I wasn't abroad, or at least when I was in Asia, I tried to be invisible, but was forced to accept the fact that I was going to stick out no matter where I went. It was a good exercise in self acceptance. Here, it's too easy to get comfortable with not being 'anything special'.
When I went abroad, one thing that amazed me was that due to our television industry, I became aware that I shattered the minds of many because of the image of America that is blasted all over the world. "You're not fat, lazy, uneducated, chasing money or (insert favorite stereo-type here of a white middle-aged former military woman, who is divorced with hispanic last name and graying hair)." When we bust up an image that is assigned due to our lack of time (we aren't going to know everyone in the world). We profile people each and every day and we often rely on the views of others to give us a snapshot of how it is.
So, in my small minded way, I have discussed people, events, ideas and myself, because the world is composed of all of it. I am not justifying anything. I am not defending our condition. I am not even saying that Eleanor Roosevelt is wrong or right. We are human and we discuss what we see, what we don't see and what we would like to see. We are still little children that are learning the difference between our wants and needs. We die and a new generation goes through it all again and so on it continues until one day we get it. Hopefully the stuff we don't need doesn't get passed on to future generations and the ideas we do need makes it into the future. Perhaps that is what Eleanor Roosevelt meant for us to glean from this remark, however, she never said this quote. It's one of our great myths. The earliest citation is quoted as an unknown sage. Whenever there is an 'unknown sage' or street philosopher, it's a reminder that wisdom or common sense doesn't need an author, it just needs to be practiced.
So whatever is written about, places, ideas, people, good food or art...it's all related.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
|"I Don't Love You"|
|My mother hated flowers|
For those of you who have been through war, it's kind of a form of survivor's guilt. It's hard to explain, but, the reality is, it's like reliving a living hell all over again. After I wrote, "An Appearance of Glass", I had self published it because I had no desire to promote it and I wanted to use my pain in a positive way. It was a release. I shared it with my brother and he wrote the introduction and with his permission, I included it in the work. From a safe distance, we view each other and really only know only the faintest outline of each other's lives. My brother has come out with his own book and had hoped that our sister would write the third part, which she has no desire to complete that work, quite possibly for the same reason I can't see my brother again. Our pain thresholds are all different. I don't hate him, but my wounds are very deep and it would be inappropriate to open them again.
Regarding his work, I am not going to say that this is a work of art. I am not also going to say it's horrible. It's a rendering, that reminds me of medicine. The kind of medicine that is part of an individual's healing process to let others know that it's possible to go forward. It's a survivor's account that gave a person permission to go forward with his life, but I have to be honest, it angers me. I cannot say why. I feel there has been no resolution and parts that lack personal ownership until much later on. I do hope, sincerely hope, that this man does take ownership for his life at long last, and begins to thrive in ways that he only dreamed of.
This may appear to be too personal to post. The response is a mirror reflection of the work rendered. The work was very personal. The response, proportional in manner since my name was cited. My recommendation for the public to read it or not carries no weight. People will do as they will and wonder what the hell this was all about for a micro-second of their lives and move on.
Friday, June 13, 2014
|Walk with me...|
|Pork Egg Rolls with scallions and cilantro|
|A Taste of Southeast Asia|
Thursday, June 12, 2014
As far as taste is concerned, Bison was very surprising to me. I was worried about a gamey taste, but there was none. It had a rich taste, as though I was eating a prime cut of beef. Consider this, bison is not corn fed and a lot of bison that is sold in the market actually not 100 percent wild bison. The bison is genetically testing, those that are not some sort of bovine hybrid, are released to the herd. The others, are auctioned and become what is known as 'bison'.
It's important to understand where our food comes from and not just to mindlessly eat.
Total calories for this dish is only 201 calories.
The lettuce greens were from my garden.
Here's what you will need.
1 lb of ground bison
15.5 oz of black beans (if canned, rinse thoroughly)
15.5 oz of chickpeas (if canned, rinse thoroughly)
4 oz of corn
15.5 oz of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon of chipotle pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 roasted Jalapeño, diced and deseeded
1 carrot, small dice
1 stalk of celery, small dice
1 clove of garlic, finely minced with a pinch of salt
1 head of Lettuce of your choice, washed gently and separate the leaves
1/2 cup of Asiago Cheese, finely grated
Here's what to do:
In a medium saucepan, simmer the beans, chickpeas and spices together for about 20 - 30 minutes and add tomatoes, jalapeño and corn to the beans for an additional 5-10 minutes. Do not add any salt until the end.
While the beans are simmering, in a large skillet, use a small amount of olive oil or canola oil, add the garlic and the celery and carrots. Crumble in the bison and add dry seasoning of your choice that will mirror the spices that are used in the beans. When the bison has been browned, make a space on the bottom of the frying pan and add the tomato paste, the color with change to a rust color and incorporate with the bison. There should be very little fat, drain off any excess.
Add the bison to the beans, fully incorporate them together. Season lightly with salt (if desired).
Spoon the mixture into lettuce leaves, sprinkle finely grated Asiago cheese.
Monday, June 9, 2014
It's good to be home.
Friday, June 6, 2014
In my love/hate relationship with social media, I find that for me it's time to cut out Facebook. I found that line in the sand, which very simply relates to privacy. I know that when I was in the Air Force I had no privacy and I expected no privacy. Everything within my life would be reviewed and I understood why. However, as a private citizen, FB unleashed a new feature with the phone application called, "listen". I don't want anyone to listen unless I am talking to them and not everything you or I say needs to be heard by everyone. I don't want to hear a story of why this is useful and I am simply not going to be 'sold' on it. This is MY decision. Everyone may have their own views about whether or not they want to stay on FB. I think a lot about what freedom means. It's a privilege. People die protecting what we have. People fight to not live in an oppressive regime and so many good changes have been made with regard to civil liberties, equal rights, gender and race equality. Why on earth do we need to live in a cold war era type of mentality? Those are the kinds of questions I asked myself. Life is about living with risk, to have a free and open society is WORTH it.
So, I guess, that means I am going to delete my FB account and actually start to use my blog again. This page is NOT monetized and I post links to other non-profits that I found around the world that are doing some pretty amazing things. So, this actually might be a good thing, since I have been thinking about wanting to create again.
What will I be writing about?
Life, food, appetites and whatever happens along the way.
I have been enjoying the stress of being a student again. I have been a great student of not knowing it all and I have been learning from a lot of very gifted people that have kind of given me that za zen notion of what it really takes to become a great chef. A chef offends everyone and pleases no one at the same time. Think about what that really means. Everyone is so different when it comes to taste and what they are able to digest. There are people who can eat absolutely everything and others that have to restrict their diets for a whole host of reasons.
So view this blog as a menu, with a lot of options. It's just a journey, a story, a perspective and at times it might be an ego-driven nightmare where there are a few crash and burns along the way. Maybe I vent. Maybe I don't. Maybe I just spontaneously explore an idea and beat it to death. We're all friends here and for whatever reason, people still do read my blog, finding me through a random act of a key word search. It's all good. On this web plain, we are all citizens of the world.